swim spa chemicals

What Chemicals Do You Put in a Swim Spa?

Many of us are trying to reduce the number of chemicals that we use in our daily lives. As we become more educated about the impact the environment has on our health, cutting down on our exposure to chemicals has become a common form of self-protection. When it comes to running a swim spa, chemical additives are an important part of providing a clean and safe environment to swim in. That doesn’t mean we can’t work to curtail the number of chemical additives we use. What chemicals do you put in a swim spa and how can you reduce their use? In this article, we’ll find out.

Can You Eliminate Chemical Use in a Swim Spa?

The only way to completely eliminate the use of chemicals in a swim spa isn’t very practical. It would require draining the swim spa after each use or every few uses, similar to what you would do with a bathtub. Doing this would ensure that you’re always swimming in water fresh from the tap while bacteria and pathogens wouldn’t have a chance to begin multiplying. Of course, this would require a lot of work, time and water. Using chemicals is the tradeoff for creating a convenient, yet safe swimming environment.

What Chemicals Do You Put in Swim Spa Water?

The chemicals you add to swim spa water are used to balance the water chemistry and disinfect the water. These can be broken down into two categories: water chemistry balancing chemicals and sanitizers/oxidizers.

Water Chemistry Balancing Chemicals

As their name suggests, water chemistry balancing chemicals are used to increase or decrease various levels related to water chemistry. For example, pH increasers and decreasers are used to elevate and lower the pH level. Total alkalinity levels can be raised using sodium bicarbonate or lowered using dry acid. Although calcium hardness levels don’t require the addition of chemicals to reduce the levels, simply diluting the water will achieve this, you can increase calcium hardness by adding calcium chloride.


Sanitizers and oxidizers are chemical additives used to disinfect that swim spa water by breaking down organic compounds and neutralizing odor-causing amines. Sanitizers use chlorine or bromine to break chemical bonds in organic matter. Sanitizers are added to the swim spa water regularly to ensure bacteria, algae and other organic-based lifeforms are unable to multiply. Oxidizers are used to shock the swim spa water which neutralizes chloramines and bromamines and releases bound chlorine and bromine back into the water. Oxidizers are usually added to the swim spa water once a week or more often if the water is getting used a lot.

What Can You Do to Reduce the Need For Chemical Additives In a Swim Spa?

Preventative measures can be employed to cut down on the number of chemical additives required to keep your swim spa water clean. By following these measures you’ll reduce the possibility of the water chemistry becoming unbalanced and limit the production of organic matter.

Cover The Swim Spa When Not in Use

By covering the swim spa whenever it isn’t being used, you’ll greatly reduce the amount of water pollution which necessitates the addition of more chemicals. When the swim spa cover is off, the water is left exposed to dirt, dust and other floating contaminants. Rainwater can also affect the water chemistry and require the addition of extra chemicals. Keep the swim spa covered to reduce the need for chemical additives.

Shower Before Swimming

Your body carries several compounds which can affect the swim spa water chemistry and promote the growth of organic materials. Sweat, body oils, dead skin and residues from soap and personal care products can all increase the need to add chemicals to the water. Taking a shower before you swim will remove many of the contaminants introduced into the water and reduce your reliance on chemical additives.

Now that you have a better idea of what chemicals you put in a swim spa, download a free buyer’s guide for more information.

Swim Spa Guide

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